Thursday, February 28, 2008

Man or Mouse? The Five Defining Moments in Your Sales Process

In a recent blog post, sales trainer Bill Caskey writes about defining moments. If you look up "defining moment" on, you'll see it's described as "a point at which the essential nature of a character, person, group, etc., is revealed or identified," or "an occurrence that typifies or determines all related events that follow."

Caskey explains defining moments as the "places in life that we have a choice - follow one path that is resourceful and in everyone's best interest, or follow the path of least resistance - where we wimp on our goals." He continues, "If you're a sales person in any context - selling services, products, or selling ideas, there are 5 defining moments in the sales process. Check them out and see how you do in these moments."

1. The First Conversation. This is the time when "orientation" gets set. What that means is the prospect begins to get a feel for how you're oriented. Are you there to sell? Are you there to beg? Or, better, are you there to question and explore? Hopefully, the latter.

2. Finding the Problem. There is a moment in the sales process where the way is paved for you to ask questions to find customer problems. And yet few of us do. We're too buy talking about our company - value-people-etc., stuff that might be important to you, but isn't for your prospect. This moment defines what you're there to do (in the prospect's eyes).

3. Talking Money. Your solution costs money. There are logical times in the sales process to talk money. Your comfort in doing so makes the sales process sail. If you're afraid of bringing it up, you're sunk.

4. Involving Others. In business to business selling, there will be more than one person who makes/weighs in on the decision. There is a moment in the process where you must involve others. Maybe the first step is to ask the simple question: "Who else cares about solving this problem?"

5. Getting a Decision. There is a moment that you should lay the ground work for the decision. You aren't asking for a YES. But you should always be planning the moment where either you tell the prospect NO or they tell you NO. Either way is OK. But don't miss the moment.

Can you think of any other defining moments in the sales process? Have you had an experience changing your actions in one of these defining moments that made a difference in your sales? Let us know!
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